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December 05, 2013

The disciples had been sitting around Jerusalem for three days. The crucifixion had wiped out all their hopes and dreams. In their understanding, Jesus was dead and buried, sealed forever in a tomb. It’s not that they were struggling to find some thin sliver of hope. They were totally hopeless, finished, wondering what to do with the world in which they had been left. Then suddenly, Jesus was alive. The whole world looked different.

I hadn’t thought about this until recently. If you read the Bible carefully you will discover that, for some reason, God chooses to bury things before resurrecting them. There was no reason why Jesus couldn’t have just come down off the cross instead of being buried. But God chose for Jesus to stay in the tomb three days, just as God chooses for the wheat seed or the tulip bulb to stay buried in the cold winter ground for a period before it germinates and grows.

Perhaps you have noticed in your own life that the sense of resurrection does not come easily. It usually follows a period of despair and hopelessness. New life springs out of the darkness of winter.

It may seem odd to talk about Easter and Advent together, but in fact they are inexorably linked. The open tomb is the reason we know that our wintertime waiting is not hopeless. The coming of the babe of Bethlehem is our reminder that God does, inevitably, come. In the end God will come to restore earth to the perfection that was intended in the original creation. It will be the perfection of the Garden.

And so the liturgical seasons are all linked together in one great salvation drama. And our prayer, in each season of life, remains the same: “Come, Lord Jesus.”

excerpt from: The Long View: Reflections on Life, God, and Nature by Don Underwood Copyright©2013 by Abingdon Press. Used with permission.